Nkulengu Rail Himantornis haematopus


Justification of Red List category
This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


Behaviour This species is likely to be non-migratory (del Hoyo et al. 1996), but its breeding habits are very little known (del Hoyo et al. 1996). The species usually forages in groups of 2-3 individuals during the day (del Hoyo et al. 1996, Taylor and van Perlo 1998), with peaks of activity at dawn and dusk (Urban et al. 1986), occasionally also observed with parties of other insectivorous species during the dry season, and in mixed-species groups following driver ant columns (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). It roosts at night in bushes or low trees (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Habitat The species inhabits dense lowland primary and secondary rainforest where rank vegetation lines streams, rivers, and swamps or marshy areas (del Hoyo et al. 1996). It may also be found in mangrove swamps, or in areas disturbed by logging (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and generally requires bushes or low trees up to 15 m high in which to roost at night (Taylor and van Perlo 1998). Diet The diet of this species consists of snails, millipedes, insects (e.g. ants and beetles), small amphibians (e.g. frogs) and hard seeds (Urban et al. 1986, del Hoyo et al. 1996). Breeding site Only two nests of this species have been described (del Hoyo et al. 1996), both being coarse structures of twigs and leaves placed c.1.2 m above the ground (one on a heap of brushwood, another in a tree) (del Hoyo et al. 1996).


This species is threatened by forest destruction (del Hoyo et al. 1996). Utilisation The species is sometimes trapped for food by local people (del Hoyo et al. 1996), and is hunted and traded at traditional medicine markets in Nigeria (Nikolaus 2001).


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Malpas, L., Clark, J.

Butchart, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Himantornis haematopus. Downloaded from on 01/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/12/2023.